Friday, February 18, 2005

Big Eddie Says: "Dean Kicked Ass!"

If you Google Howard Dean today you will observe that Dean's debate in Portland yesterday with the delusional Richard Perle elicited a variety of headlines in the daily newspapers of these United States. Except for The Oregonian, they all ran the same AP story with this lead: "Howard Dean, the newly minted leader of the Democratic Party, and former Pentagon adviser Richard Perle made clear their opposing views on the war in Iraq during a debate marred by a protester who tossed a shoe at Perle." Here are the different headlines, most of which feature a piece of footwear, rather than the substance of the debate: "Protester throws shoe at Richard Perle" (Seattle P-I, Washington Post, LA Times and many, many others); "Shoe tossed at ex-Pentagon adviser during debate" (CNN with a photo of the famous shoe, and many, many others). Exceptions to the rule: "Howard Dean trades barbs with former Pentagon adviser Richard Perle at debate in Oregon" (the AP story, again, in the San Diego Union-Tribune) that has a photo of Dean, not the shoe, and "Polar opposites Dean, Perle trade barbs at debate", Channel 3, Burlington (VT). Here's a quote from The Oregonian story, "U.S. foreign policy debate packed with left, right jabs: "Howard Dean, Democratic National Committee chairman, and Richard Perle, a conservative foreign policy expert, were the cordial antagonists during a lively, 90-minute joint appearance before about 2,800 people in the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall." It covers the issues discussed in the face-off and has this about Dean's debut on the national media stage as DNC Chair: "Dean said that he and other Democrats had supported earlier conflicts, including the war in Afghanistan, but that the Iraq war "was not justified by the information we had at the time." Dean also accused the Bush administration of failing to develop and invest in long-term strategies to improve U.S. security and of ignoring graver threats than that posed by Iraq's Saddam Hussein. "We picked the low-lying fruit in Iraq" while ignoring developing nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea, Dean said. "It is not strong defense policy to run up trillions of dollars in deficits and have the paper held by the Saudis and Chinese," he said. A majority of the audience clearly sided with Dean, greeting the former Vermont governor with campaign rally-type cheers." How much will the shoe fetch on eBay and do you think the shoe will distract readers from the substance of the issues under discussion? Update: "Big Eddie" Schultz on Air America AM1090 in Seattle this morning commenting on the "Great Shoe Debate" yesterday: "Dean kicked ass." He also wondered why the media has not played any audio or shown any video of Dean's first public appearance, since so many were "worried" and other things about his ability to perform in his new position. Update: The last word on "The Great Shoe Debate" from me goes to The Daily Times of Pakistan, from their article, "Shoe thrown at leading US neocon": "Richard Perle, one of the country’s leading neocons and an architect of the Iraq war, met his just deserts when an irate member of the audience he was addressing in Oregon threw a shew at him screaming “liar, liar.”

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